Major League Baseball announces rule changes, including 3-batter minimum

4 2019 Julio Urias of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches in relief in the ninth inning in game two of the National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles California.- Ev

Most importantly, pitchers now must deal with a minimum of 3 batters or complete the half-inning in question before being gotten rid of from the game. The average baseball is only used for a few pitches in the U.S. Major Leagues, but for the Costa Ricans who make them each ball is the result of hours of painstaking stitching by hand. But the long-discussed move is designed in part to reduce the number of mid-inning pitching changes that can serve to elongate games.

Major League Baseball officially announced a group of rules changes for the 2020 season that have been widely expected for months, including some aimed at speeding up the pace of games.

The three-batter rule goes into effect during spring training on March 12. The same regulations will apply to postseason rosters. Each team may have a maximum 13 pitchers through August 31 and during the postseason, and 14 from September 1 through the end of the regular season.

Two-way player designation: Teams can now designated a "two-way" player that doesn't count toward the pitcher limit, provided the player has played at least 30 games as a pitcher and 30 as a non-pitcher.

Two-way players who have at least 20 innings thrown or 20 games started in a designated position or batter with at least three plate appearances in the previous season may pitch without counting against the pitcher's limit of that game.

Team will have to designate these two-way players, and those players will maintain that status for the remainder of the season and postseason.


Likewise, in what's now become called "the Shohei Ohtani rule", gamers who qualify as "two-way gamers" may look like pitchers during a game without counting towards those aforementioned pitcher roster restrictions. Stats from 2019 and 2018 can be used to designate such players.

- In an effort to speed up games, managers will be given 20 seconds, instead of 30, to declare if they will challenge a play.

Position players will still be allowed to pitch in either extra innings or if their team is either ahead or behind by six runs or more.

Change to pitcher injuries: Pitchers on the injured list must sit for 15 days - up from the previous total of 10.

Lynn Worthy covers the Kansas City Royals and Major League Baseball for The Star. He's won awards for sports features and sports columns.

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